Valley School District's youngest students are missing school at alarming rate

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The kids in Mrs. Her's kindergarten class are eager to learn and they're having fun. This is a time when her students at Storey Elementary start to read and write, which is why it's important not to miss class.

Twenty-two percent of kindergarteners in Fresno Unified have been chronically absent.

"Kindergarten not being mandatory makes it hard for us to really hold parents accountable for bringing the kids to school every day," Kristi Jackson, said. "It's so important for kids to be in school in kindergarten so that they can start those building blocks early to be able to read by 3rd grade."

District Attendance Coordinator, Kristi Jackson, says chronic absenteeism among kindergarteners is the highest among all grade levels. Jackson says kindergarten attendance also drops during the Big Fresno Fair.

Home visits have revealed social and emotional issues, even transportation problems. But attendance interventions haven't focused on kindergarten until now.

The message is the missed days can have a long-term impact on a child's ability to learn.
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